Camp Pendleton Marine Cpl. Alex Martinez knew what he wanted from life at an early age, and he didn't waste any time striving for his goals. Martinez's father and aunt had both been in the military, and Martinez decided to become a Marine while still in high school, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Marinez, 21, was the second oldest of seven children, growing up in the town of Elgin, Illinois.
His sister, Jenny Martinez, told the Chicago Tribune:
He graduated early, married his high school sweetheart a few days after he turned 18 and left for boot camp the next month, shipping off to Afghanistan soon after that.
Martinez was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, and was on his second deployment to Afghanistan when his dreams were cut short. According to the Department of Defense, Martinez died April 5 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province.
Television station CBS Chicago has more on the life of Cpl. Alex Martinez: